To the Right: Fresh Water Oysters in the St. Joseph River were harvested ~ 1920's. Count 25 men on this >2 story mound of oyster shells. The shells were then used to make buttons. You may still find punched-out blanks in the riverbed. We have a few on display.
In approximately 1775, a fur trader named William Burnett settled on the banks of the St. Joseph River – just a few hundred yards south of this site…approximately 1.5 miles from the river’s outlet into Lake Michigan. In 1782 he was married to Kakima, the daughter of a Potawatomie Chief (Aniquiba) who granted Burnett all land west of the Miami (St. Joseph) River as a dowry!
Even since early settlers established their homes here, Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph and Paw Paw Rivers haven’t relinquished their free spirits – their influence has shaped this area as one of tranquil beauty worthy of exploration and opportunity.
There have been more than a few fur traders who have visited Fisherman’s Wharf SJ or immediate environs. It has been the home to many varied enterprises - including two ship builders, three railroads, a flour and paper mill, elevator/button/metal/wire/cable manufacturers, oyster and numerous commercial fishing enterprises…and now you’re among the visitors – albeit electronically.